Eleventh chords in jazz and popular music
There is a swath of New York's Catskill Mountains, a two-to-three hour drive from Manhattan, that until recently was euphemistically known as the Borscht Belt. As a
One of the famous hotels in the Borscht Belt was the
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In common jazz practice, however, the third is often omitted from the dominant 11th chord, even though this omission is not specified in the chord symbol.
Using "slash" notation, the same chord may also be labeled as a Gm7/C. This nomenclature, frequently used to indicate a non-harmonic bass tone, has the advantage of guaranteeing that the third will be omitted from the chord.
The same set of notes is accurately represented by a third symbol: C7sus4. This label, like Gm7/C, also ensures that the third will be omitted.
All three of these symbols are used interchangeably in jazz
When the 11th chord is played by the left hand alone, the experienced professional pianist typically omits the root and the third, or the root, third, and ninth.
Note that the eleventh scale degree is identical to the fourth scale degree (in the key of C the eleventh would be F). In jazz and popular music, 4 is used in a chord symbol only when notating sus4 chords, while 11 is used for all other chord symbols, including dominant and minor chords.
Major eleventh chords
Major eleventh chords are seldom played in jazz and popular music because their sound is considered by jazz pianists to be unattractive. Play it and see for yourself.
By contrast, however, a major ninth chord with a raised eleventh is widely used in jazz. This chord is often spelled as a polychord Cone chord on top of another, as in Bm/Cmajor).
Minor eleventh chords
Even though minor eleventh chords have the quality of polychords Cm/Cm), they are rarely spelled this way.
Play the following short composition, which demonstrates several minor eleventh chords. Practice this piece several times to become thoroughly familiar with the sound of these chords.
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